Date Night 101

A Night in Paris
By Doris Ohlmann

Keeping the romance alive in your relationship – when you’re tired from the week’s work, or too busy to think of something special to do together, or wondering how you could possibly be romantic when the kids are jumping in and out of bed and won’t settle for the evening – can be challenging. However, there are simple ways to keep that spark burning even with all your obligations.
It begins with flowers. I know that sounds cliché but wait — have you ever started a romantic evening with flowers at eight in the morning? I’m driving on my way to work after dropping our daughter off at school. Our teenage son takes the bus earlier so he’s been taken care of. Looking up in my rear-view mirror I purse my eyebrows. That truck behind me sure is getting awfully close. The driver seems to be trying to get my attention. Wait — it’s my husband motioning for me to pull over at the driveway just up ahead. Did he forget something today?
Apparently he hadn’t forgotten something; he wanted to give me something. After we’ve both pulled over and put our vehicles in park mode, he hops out of his truck while I roll down my window. From behind his back he presents a bouquet of flowers and says, “I just wanted to say good morning to the most beautiful woman in the world and give you this!”
“You mean you chased me down the road, just to bring me flowers?” I ask. “Yes,” he beams, gives me a quick peck on the lips and says, “gotta run,
see you later.”
He’s gone before I have much time to react but the smile pasted to my face on the way to work keeps me company along the way. While I unwrap the roses to put them in a vase, a card drops out. “Vous voir ce soir, ma cherie!”
Hunh, yes, I’ll see him that evening at home. It’s Friday night so thankfully there are no meetings or children’s activity to chauffeur a child to but what’s with the French note? My husband doesn’t speak French. My day is full and I don’t have time to call my husband and question him about the message. Arriving home, the house is quiet. Another note on the kitchen counter says, “Kids have been taken care of. Just relax. I’ll see you soon.”
I smile, shrug and wander up to our bedroom. I decide to freshen up before thinking about what to prepare for dinner. As I enter our ensuite bathroom, another surprise greets me.
A bubble bath is already drawn and a glass of wine sits on the vanity. I run my fingers through the water; it’s still quite warm. How? I take a sip of the wine. It’s Pinot Noir; my favourite. Another shrug gets me quickly out of my work clothes and I sink into the bubbles after perching the wine glass on the side of the tub.
Soon I am lost in the luxurious warmth of the water and even doze off for a little while. I awake to the smells and sounds of something cooking. I begin to get out of the tub when the door opens and my husband peeks in. “Where are you going?” he grins. Take your time. You have about an
hour.” An hour! To myself?
“But where are the kids?” I ask.
“They’re both at the neighbours. They’ve gone out for the evening so the kids are spending the night there.”
Apparently our eldest is babysitting their two young children and our youngest. The neighbours said they’d be out very late so they might as well just sleep over. I sink back into the tub for a while and then when I can’t resist not knowing what my husband is up to in the kitchen, I dry off and dress.
Downstairs a feast meets my eyes. Our coffee table has been transformed into an intimate, French bistro table for two, complete with a white, linen
tablecloth and napkins, and crystal candlesticks with the wicks already sending a soft glow over the dimly lit room. The breadbasket has warmed slices of baguette, our wine glasses are filled with more Pinot Noir while steamed escargots entice us to begin our meal. Swordfish with lemon butter sauce served over angel hair pasta and a side of grilled mushrooms follows the mouth-watering appetizer and for dessert, my favourite, decadent chocolate mousse completes our soul satisfying meal.
While we dine we watch a movie, not just any movie but a romantic French inspired movie that completes our theme-based evening at home. Such dine-in date nights are easy to dream up. Simply think of a place you might like to visit and like the armchair novel travellers, create your meal around this locale. Choose a traditional cuisine from that country or be even more adventurous by trying a new recipe from that locale that stimulates your curiosity. Numerous recipes from any country can be found in many recipe books or online.
Next, choose your wine carefully so it will not only compliment your palate but your meal choice as well. Pairing wines with food properly can make or break the taste of your food. You don’t want to ruin your romantic evening with a sour taste in your mouth! The Internet can help you find wine pairings that are sure to flatter your meal selections.
Lastly, select some entertainment that again corresponds with the theme of that evening. Watch a slide show of the country’s countryside and architecture or a movie, which includes scenes with that country’s landscape or popular tourist spots. Before you know it you’ll have forgotten about your children and become immersed in a tender night of delicious flavours and fun.

Doris Ohlmann is a mother of two who has enjoyed many nights over the years with her husband finding ways to have interesting dine-in date nights.

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